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Vintage Perfumes For Sale

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Nine Flags Colognes


The Nine Flags men's shaving cologne collection came out in 1965, it was still being sold well into the early 1970s. It was distributed by the Colton company of Boston, Massachusetts and was marketed by Gillette in the United Kingdom. The bottles are also marked "Essence Imported Blended in USA". I have also found reference to the Nine Flags men's soap set advertisement from 1972. By 1974, the Colton Company ceased production of the Nine Flags fragrances.


Each bottle held 2fl oz of cologne and was ball shaped and had a long neck covered with a brushed aluminum screw cap. The name of the cologne is on the bottle part of the cap and on the label on the base.

Design-Vignelli, 1990:
"Nine Flags Cologne was a line of nine different fragrances sold in various combinations.  Defying the prevailing stereotype of the macho man, we addressed ourselves to men who likes fine instruments like cameras, microscopes, and hi-fi, and designed a line of containers resembling laboratory bottles overprotected by styrofoam boxes. My Islands " was born in 1967.  For this line we designed special bottles of acid-frosted glass that stacked one inside the other. They were packaged in hexagonal boxes of silver foil,  with the content description in large-size type. The packages were again a success, but not their contents, and eventually both lines were discontinued."

Vignelli, 2007:
"For Nine Flags, a line of aftershaves, the client brought nine chemical bottles. l recognized the potential in them and decided to use them, designed a new cap, and packaged them inside a styrofoam box: the kind of box used to protect precious items like cameras and electronics. The message was that the contents were precious. Everyone responded positively to the packaging  - both the styrofoam box and the chemical bottles - but once the bottles were opened, it was a disappointment. Great first sales, but no return customers."

This ingenious collection was full of international flair and each cologne was named after its own country and the essential oils that make up the scent were said to be imported from that country, and then the scent was compounded in the USA. Each scent was tinted with a different color which look striking when packaged together. I have also seen these in atomizer bottles, but more commonly in the splash type bottles.

The collection was available in sets of six, four, three, two and one.

Click HERE to find Nine Flags Cologne

Even commercials of the day featured such scenes as ethnic sexy women talking about which country has the best after shave lotion. Other commercials featured a sexy Italian couple, German couple and Swedish couple. One such commercial showed a gift box that featured colognes from nine countries - three humorous vignettes of sample countries all include the men applying their colognes and their lady friend's reactions.

For instance, one commercial features a sensuous woman in Italy embracing a man saying "Marcello, I love you","...kiss me, you fool," for England, a fraulein in Germany who declares unemotionally "Hans! I love you!" while he clicks his heels and says "Of course you do, you could not help yourself!", and a Swedish couple in a sauna as the woman says "Oh, Sven" - as the blond in a towel jumps the handsome Swede.

These colognes are still very popular amongst men today and command very high prices on eBay. Prices range from $75-$350 for a single bottle.


The following countries/scents make up the Nine Flags Collection:
  • Hong Kong - Patcham (an exotic masculine oriental scent with notes of citrus, lavender, jasmine, ylang ylang, vetiver, olibanum, tonka bean, resins, sandalwood, patchouli, vanilla, myrrh, benzoin, amber)
  • Brazil - Aromatic Tabac (a warm, rich, spicy tobacco scent with notes of citron, bay, laurel, pimiento, nutmeg, coffee, patchouli, resins, and vetiver)
  • England - Royal Saddle  (a leather scent with notes of citrus, lavender, violet, rose geranium, carnation, Indian sandalwood, fresh oakmoss, leather and musk)
  • France - Panache (an aromatic fougere scent with notes of citrus, lavender, clary sage, fern, ylang ylang, cedar, geranium, vetiver, sandalwood, patchouli, myrrh, musk and ambergris)
  • Sweden - Clear Spruce (a brisk, cool, minty woodsy scent with notes of citrus, herbs, verbena, lavender, mint, ylang ylang, carnation,  cloves, juniper, oakmoss, cedar, pine and vetiver)
  • Ireland - Green Moss (a masculine chypre scent with notes of lime, orange leaf, lavender, bay leaf, clove, violet leaves, incense, oakmoss and musk)
  • Germany - Live Oak (a woodsy scent with notes of lime, oakmoss, and black forest pine)
  • Spain - Manzanilla (a lightly spiced herbal scent with notes of orange blossom, cinnamon, chamomile, sandalwood, leather, musk, patchouli, castoreum, and amber)
  • Italy - Dry Citrus (an eau de cologne type scent with notes of bergamot, orange, lemon, origanum, sage, spices, cognac)
  • Monaco - Sea Amber (a warm, and spicy ambergris scent)
  • Lichtenstein - Wild Cedar (a fresh, deep green woodsy scent)
  • Luxembourg - Meadow Grass ( a fresh, green scent)
  • America - Mountain Green (a green scent with citrus and lime)


Popular Science, Dec 1967:
“Hot shaving lather out of a cold can? Borrowing rocket technology from Cape Kennedy, this new thermal shaving lather packs soap, propellant, a reductant (material that oxidizes to create heat) and an oxidizer in the same can. The oxidizer (hydrogen peroxide) is in a special plastic bottle inside the aerosol. When the can is turned over and the nozzle pressed, a double valve mixes the oxidizer with the reductant and soap in the right amounts. They react chemically, heating the lather to a warm, comfortable 150 degrees and softening the beard for shaving. Called “Nine Flags Thermal Shaving Foam”, the lather was developed by The Colton Company. $5 per can”


  1. In the commercial with the German couple... the gentleman actually says "Of course you do Fraulein, you could not help yourself." and it is said with a very heavy German accent, it's one of my absolute favorite commercials because of it's absurdity.

  2. I always like the 9 Flags scents-has anyone ever re-launched the line? I bought a 9 bottle set on ebay years ago.


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